San Pablo man sentenced in cop-car gun theft case

February 10, 2010 9:25:14 AM PST
A Contra Costa County man who authorities say stole assault rifles and shotguns from California Highway Patrol and sheriff's cruisers has been sentenced to more than five years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Saundra Armstrong Tuesday ordered Daniel Vess of San Pablo to serve 63 months behind bars after the 21-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of possessing a stolen firearm. Prosecutors agreed to drop other charges in exchange for the plea.

Authorities say Vess broke into several CHP and Contra Costa County sheriff's cruisers in Martinez, Richmond and Clayton between December 2008 and March 2009, making off with at least five weapons.

Sheriff's officials have described Vess as being obsessed with firearms. Vess's attorney, Michael Hinckley, says his client was not intending to use the weapons for violence.